NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA
February 21, 2014
Port teen selected as ‘Youth Hero’ by Red Cross
BY ANGELJEAN CHIARAMIDA
—- — NEWBURYPORT —A Newburyport High School student will be among those honored in March when the American Red Cross holds its annual Heroes Breakfast.
According to Red Cross spokeswoman Frederica Doeringer, 17-year-old Lauren Healey epitomizes what the agency had in mind when it drew up its Youth Hero category. Lauren’s commitment to the environment and her community through her volunteer work makes her the perfect choice for the award, designed to honor a student who demonstrates those leadership qualities.
“Lauren is very intelligent and really loves science,” Doeringer said. “She won first prize at her high school science fair with her ‘Green Roof’ project,” and took fourth place at the state science fair held at MIT. But she’s continued her environmental efforts and works with middle school students. She’s committed to a plan for clean energy.”
Lauren also has Red Cross CPR and First Aid certifications, Doeringer said, showing her constant willingness to help others.
Doeringer said Lauren was nominated for the award by John Halloran, a retired teacher she works with on projects with the Gulf of Maine Institute in an effort to solve environmental problems.
“He said, ‘Lauren is the first to volunteer when there is an opportunity to help out and serve her community,’” Doeringer said. “She really impressed us as someone who is doing good work, both through her ‘Green Roof’ project, and her involvement in her community so Newburyport would have a better future.”
An enthusiastic high honor roll student, Lauren is the daughter of James and Joann Healey, both of whom, she said, have encouraged her, her twin sister, Meghan, and older brother, Justin, in their love of science and commitment to the environment in which they live.
“When I was little my mother would teach nature programs and they were really interesting,” Lauren said. “My father knows all about tools and building. I learned from him and I was able to build my Green Roof project myself. And over the years I always had good science teachers in school in Newburyport. I remember them as always being really engaging.”
The idea of green roofs captivated Lauren, leading her to enter the Newburyport High and state science fairs. A green roof basically is a roof with plants on it, she said, and acts as insulation and helps reduce heating and cooling costs. The result is a reduction in the amount of energy used, as well as storm water management.
After doing well at the science fairs, Lauren was invited by town officials to build a green roof at Newburyport’s Crow Lane Compost Center. Now, some seventh-grade students get to use it as an aspect of their environmental education.
But that’s not the end of her volunteer activities. She and her team at the Gulf of Maine Institute do the water quality testing of the Merrimack River in Newburyport, she said, and they take on other projects as volunteers.
Plans for her future include a career in either environmental science or engineering.
“It would really be cool if I could do scientific research; I love doing field work,” she said. “Or I’d love to build things in the environmental field.”
A junior, she spent this week’s vacation investigating colleges where she will continue her education. And after spending time at MIT during the state science fair, it’s definitely on her list.
The teen will be honored during the Red Cross Heroes Breakfast on March 20. For more information on the breakfast, visit www.redcross.org/ma/peabody, or call 978-922-2224.